Baykeeper Update

Delta Tunnels Renamed Cal Water Fix, Still Bad for the Bay

The 35-mile tunnels proposed to route freshwater from the northern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to pumps on the southern end have a new name, the California Water Fix. But that doesn’t change the harm that this project, estimated to cost $25 billion, would cause to San Francisco Bay. The tunnels would starve the Bay of freshwater, increase pollution, and endanger fish.

Baykeeper recently opposed the environmentally-destructive Delta tunnels by submitting comments on the project’s revised environmental review documents. Our partners in this action include the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Bay Institute, Defenders of Wildlife, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta flows to San Francisco Bay, and directly impacts the Bay’s health. The Delta provides a vital source of freshwater, and also carries pollution from upstream sources to the Bay.

There is broad scientific agreement that so much freshwater is already being diverted from the Bay-Delta estuary that there’s not enough to protect the ecosystem and many fish species that depend on it. 

Despite the harm water diversions already cause, the revised environmental review documents don’t consider the ways that the California Water Fix would worsen problems in the Bay and Delta.

Sending Sacramento River water through two massive tunnels to the Central Valley and Southern California would starve the Delta and Bay of adequate freshwater for decades to come.

The resulting harm to the Bay and Delta would be severe. Toxic algae would increase in both the Bay and Delta, fewer salmon would survive, several species of native fish would go extinct, and concentrations of pollutants like mercury and selenium would go up. These impacts will be made even worse due to global climate change, which is expected to reduce freshwater from the Sierra snowpack and cause sea level rise that will push salt water further upstream.

Baykeeper has opposed the Delta tunnels project, formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, since it was first proposed. Along with our partners, we will continue to stand against the costly tunnels. Instead, California needs to increase freshwater flows to the Delta and Bay, and to restore and protect the Bay and Delta wildlife and ecosystem.